Biochar soil amendment on alleviation of drought and salt stress in plants: a critical review

Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Farooq Qayyum, Yong Sik Ok, Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Riaz, Muhammad Saleem Arif, Farhan Hafeez, Mohammad I. Al-Wabel, Ahmad Naeem Shahzad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

320 Citations (Scopus)


Drought and salt stress negatively affect soil fertility and plant growth. Application of biochar, carbon-rich material developed from combustion of biomass under no or limited oxygen supply, ameliorates the negative effects of drought and salt stress on plants. The biochar application increased the plant growth, biomass, and yield under either drought and/or salt stress and also increased photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and modified gas exchange characteristics in drought and salt-stressed plants. Under drought stress, biochar increased the water holding capacity of soil and improved the physical and biological properties of soils. Under salt stress, biochar decreased Na+ uptake, while increased K+ uptake by plants. Biochar-mediated increase in salt tolerance of plants is primarily associated with improvement in soil properties, thus increasing plant water status, reduction of Na+ uptake, increasing uptake of minerals, and regulation of stomatal conductance and phytohormones. This review highlights both the potential of biochar in alleviating drought and salt stress in plants and future prospect of the role of biochar under drought and salt stress in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12700-12712
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Abiotic stress
  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Slow pyrolysis
  • Soil reclamation
  • Soil remediation
  • Soil salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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